Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cookie Exchange 2009

We had 8 cookies and 6 people... one could not make it, but brought cookies anyway, and dear Carol made two cookies to represent her and Teresa. Yippee! The picture above shows Michelle's Angel Wings, Angelica's Festive Cranberry Crunch Bark, Janet's Gingerdoodles, Carol's Brownies and Sand Tarts and part of Adriana's Krinkle Cookies.

For some reason, the official Cookie Exchange photographer did not take a picture of ALL the cookies, including mine, Toffee Caramel Squares.

My cookies won best tasting at my office's cookie exchange, which brings my reign to two years. They are easy and very tasty!

Tonya's Buttermilk Pralines (also not photographed.. must get new photographer...) won for best tasting and they were delicious! They melt in your mouth without being too sweet.

Carol's Barefoot Contessa's Outrageous Brownies were voted prettiest. Carol iced and decorated five different ways. The coffee powder is a perfect addition to all the chocolate and really adds a nice flavor.

Here is Angelica, me, Tonya, Carol, Janet (with sleek, straight 'do!) and Michelle. Oh! And there are my cookies in the bottom right corner.

I wanted to serve savory appetizers to keep us all from going in to sugar comas. I made a double batch of my mom's famous vegetable dip:

1 packet Zesty Italian seasonings packet
8 oz cream cheese (can use low fat)
4 oz sour cream (can use low fat)

Mix all with a hand mixer and then use some milk to change to the thickness you like. You can also add more garlic salt or other herbs (I added some fresh rosemary).

I also served Florentine Artichoke Dip . As suggested by a reviewer, I made the following adjustments: used 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts (cut up) and only 1 block of cream cheese. I think this was every one's favorite appetizer!

For drinks I had Hot Apple Cider, and a fruit punch with cranberry, pineapple and orange juices and ginger ale. I realized later I neglected to add the ginger ale to the punch. Oops. I also added a small jar of cherries and floated frozen orange slices to keep it cool.

Rounding out the menu was the cheese log I had at Teresa's shower, mixed nuts, cheese, sausage, fruit and crackers.

Here we are again at another angle... we pose so nicely.

Monday, December 14, 2009


While I do not think cooking through my new favorite cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, is akin to cooking through Julia Childs, I am going to do it anyway. Even if it does not make me rich and famous!

I love pancakes. I will eat them for any meal. Lately I have wanted to make them from scratch. And scratch does not include Bisquick! Or maybe it does.... anyway, I was looking through my refrigerator, trying to decide what to do with that half used container of sour cream, when egad! Pioneer Woman has a recipe called "Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes". They were so easy! And soft and golden brown. Plus, the recipe calls for cooking them in an iron skillet. I NOW HAVE AN IRON SKILLET! And sour cream! This recipe is begging me to make it.

The recipe says it makes twelve, 4-inch pancakes. I made 5. Yes. Ok.. so one was like 6 inches, some were 5 and I guess that explains it. I ate the remainder tonight, after heating them in the oven, and they were just as delicious as last night!

Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes
by The Pioneer Woman

1 cup sour cream
7 tbs flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

Place iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat to get it hot.

In a medium bowl put in sour cream, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir together gently, and stop short of completely combining.

Whisk together the eggs and vanilla in a small bowl.

Pour the eggs into the sour cream/flour mixture and stir together gently. Do not worry about completely combining.

Melt a tablespoon of butter in the skillet and pour in some batter. Cook a couple minutes each side, until golden brown and done in the middle.

Serve with butter, syrup, or however you like to do it!